Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Influence of Ignatius

How much influence has Ignatius of Antioch (AD 35 - 107) had on how church has been structured for the past 2000 years?  Taking a look at church history can help us understand aspects of who we are today.  Ignatius of Antioch is considered one of the apostolic fathers, a leader of the early church believed to be a student of John the apostle.  He died a martyr in the Colosseum of Rome.

From what I've read his views on the office of bishop were not held in most other towns and cities during his life.  But over time the church across the Roman empire did adopt many of his beliefs.

So for the sake of understanding history here are quotes from Ignatius. 
"It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself."
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-ephesians-roberts.html

"See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Christ Jesus does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles. Do ye also reverence the deacons, as those that carry out [through their office] the appointment of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as where Christ is, there does all the heavenly host stand by, waiting upon Him as the Chief Captain of the Lord's might, and the Governor of every intelligent nature. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize, or to offer, or to present sacrifice, or to celebrate a love-feast. But that which seems good to him, is also well-pleasing to God, that everything ye do may be secure and valid."
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-smyrnaeans-longer.html 

"He who honours the bishop has been honoured by God; he who does anything without the knowledge of the bishop, does [in reality] serve the devil."

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-smyrnaeans-longer.html

"Honour thou God indeed, as the Author and Lord of all things, but the bishop as the high-priest, who bears the image of God-of God. inasmuch as he is a ruler, and of Christ, in his capacity of a priest. After Him, we must also honour the king. For there is no one superior to God, or even like to Him, among all the beings that exist. Nor is there any one in the Church greater than the bishop, who ministers as a priest to God for the salvation of the whole world. "
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-smyrnaeans-longer.html
  
I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Do you agree with these quotes?

Try substituting the terms bishop, presbytery, deacons with terms like pastor, elders, and ministry leaders. Does this help us understand how we got to a place with church hierarchical leadership structures like we see today?

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